shotshell reloading question
I've been reloading for rifles for years now, but I'm just starting with some shotshell reloading. I went "by the book" for my first loads, using Rem STS hulls (once-fired), TiteWad Powder, Claybuster WAA12 wads, and 1 1/8 oz of #7.5 shot. I'm using a MEC Grabber press.
As recommended on a shotgunning forum, I got the crimp so it's right about the thickness of a dime (about .055" measured with a caliper) from the top of the shell, and it's tight and very even.
I still get a little rattle from the shot in the shell though. Is this normal? Do I need to go to a slightly taller wad? If so, which wad is just a bit (say 1/16") longer than a WAA12?
I'm not worried about shot running out of the shell, but I read a very informed discussion on how the pressure from the crimp has a larger effect on performance and pressure than changing primers does. That is: higher pressure from the crimp leading to higher pressures in the shell when shot, and not enough pressure leading to mixed performance. I'm worried that the rattle from the shot indicates that I have too much room inside the shell, meaning little to no "wad pressure".
Or am I just sweating details that don't matter?
It would be interesting to sort loads based on rattle, no-rattle, then chronograph them. I don't know if anyone has done it.
It slows reloading a bit, but I've formed the habit of tapping the side of each shell a couple of times with my fingertip prior to crimping. That seems to settle out the shot and eliminate rattles if my crimp is set right. I've developed the "informed guess" that when you get a rattle there's a high spot in the shot pile that gets "locked in" by the crimp while leaving a little extra space somewhere else for rattle. I notice it a lot more with larger shot than small.
Guesswork all, but that little finger tap before crimping loads with larger shot seems to resolve the rattle.
I'll give that a try and see if it cures the rattle. I've tried lowering the crimping die at the main crimping station, and also lower the finishing crimper. I actually got to the point where I noticed some slight buckling on the sides of the hull, and still had shot rattling inside. However, since the shot is not sloshing around, just a few pellets running loose, it might be something that's not possible to cure completely.
On the other hand, every shell has some rattling shot. You'd think if I had everything dialed half or more would be tight. I'm just not sure where to make the adjustment, or if I just need to change wads or something.
Come to think of it, I can recall rattles in some of my factory loads, especially Remington. Never seemed to affect my results on hunts. Of course, some days they couldn't get much worse!
Your components are right. A little shot rattle is completely normal. The crimp isn't supposed to be so tight against the shot that it will prevent rattle. Remember that the bottom of the wad has a shock absorber on it, so the further you try to tighten the crimp, the more you're just pre-compressing the wad. That's bad. Set the crimp by OAL & for complete closure, not the powder/shot/wad column.